Karen Skyers showed nearly $33,000 in contributions in her inaugural campaign finance report, putting her in the driver’s seat in the crowded Democratic Primary to replace Tampa Rep. Sean Shaw, who is leaving the House to run for Attorney General.
Skyers brought in 174 contributions in April, with the vast majority coming in from small-dollar donors chipping in $100 or less. She also snagged 10 checks for $1,000, the maximum allowable donation for state legislative races.
Five of those max checks came from political committees tied to lobbyist David Ramba, the head of Ramba Consulting Group: The Committee for Justice, Transportation and Business, Citizens for Principled Leadership, Greater Florida Leadership Group, Strong Communities of Southwest Florida and Voters for Economic Growth.
Skyers also picked up a couple max checks from Republicans politicians, including committees tied to Clearwater Rep. Chris Latvala and former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, a lobbyist at Becker & Poliakoff, which also employed Skyers’ before she announced her candidacy. Democrats showed up, too. Notables included former Sen. Nan Rich, and the Pittman Law Group, headed up by Tallahassee lobbyist Sean Pittman.
Spending came in at $864 for the month, with more than three-quarters that outflow covering payment processing fees. Websites fees and Vistaprint orders made up the rest.
Skyers brought in $32,849 overall, including a $500 loan to kick off the campaign, and started May with just shy of $32,000 in the bank.
Prior to joining Becker & Poliakoff, Skyers served as the legislative aide to former Sen. Arthenia Joyner, who represented the Tampa Bay area from 2006 through 2016. She is also a distinguished alumna of the FAMU College of Law.
Skyers filed for HD 61 on April 2, joining Sharon Carter, Dianne Hart, Norman Andronicus Harris and Byron Keith Henry in the Democratic Primary.
Of her four opponents, Hart has made the most headway on the fundraising trail. Through the end of March she had raised nearly $20,000, including $15,000 in loans, and had $17,315 in the bank.
Prior to Skyers’ entry, Hart was the presumed frontrunner. She took Shaw to the wire in the 2016 Democratic Primary, losing out by just 101 votes, and her 2018 announcement came alongside endorsements from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, St. Petersburg Sen. Darryl Rouson and former U.S. Rep. Jim Davis.
HD 61 covers downtown Tampa, Ybor City, and Seminole Heights. Democrats hold an overwhelming advantage at the polls.
Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw is vacating this Tampa-based district to run for Attorney General. Five Democrats have filed for the majority minority stronghold: Sharon Carter, Norman Andronicus Harris, Dianne Hart, Byron Keith and Karen Skyers. Hart took Shaw to the wire in the 2016 cycle, losing by 101 votes in the primary, but Skyers is the candidate to watch – the former public defender left her job at lobby firm Becker & Poliakoff in March and filed for the seat on April 3, so it’ll be another month before Hart’s front-runner status can be legitimately reevaluated.
As it stands, Hart leads with $20,000 raised and $17,300 on hand, including $15,000 in loans. Carter has $100 in her account, while Harris has $25 and Henry has $0.
Karen Skyers, a former aide to state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, is the latest entrant in the crowded Democratic primary for state House District 61, the minority access seat being vacated by Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa.
Skyers, 43, a New York native who’s been here 15 years, is also a Florida A&M University law grad, a former Hillsborough County assistant public defender and until recently, a lobbyist with the Becker & Poliakoff firm.
Sharon Carter, Dianne Hart, Norman Harris and Byron Henry are also running in the primary, which will decide the election. Shaw is leaving the seat to run for attorney general.
ATTORNEY KAREN SKYERS A Tampa attorney recently announced her intentions to run for a state office. The position is being vacated by Attorney Sean Shaw, who is running for Attorney General. Attorney Karen Skyers is a former Public Defender and Public Advocate. “The people of District 61 need a representative who knows the ropes..."
Former public defender and lobbyist Karen Skyers announced via Twitter Tuesday that she is entering the race for Hillsborough-based House District 61.
Skyers, a Democrat, joins Sharon Carter, Norman Harris, Dianne Hart and Byron Henry in the primary race. HD 61 is opening up in the fall due to Tampa Democratic Rep. Sean Shaw foregoing re-election to run for Attorney General.
“The people of District 61 need a representative who knows the ropes, who understands the political games that make or break a water project, a community center, or safety improvements in a neighborhood. Our community needs someone who isn’t afraid to stand up and speak out because that’s what I’ve been doing all along,” Skyers said in a news release.
“I understand issues that matter to people of color, no matter their shade of black or brown, and what I’ve learned is that some needs are universal: good jobs, affordable health care, safe and high-quality schools, thriving communities — every one of us wants that. And that’s why I’m running.”
Before her lobbying career, she was the legislative aide to Sen. Arthenia Joyner, who represented the Tampa Bay area in the Florida Senate from 2006 through 2016.
Skyers has also worked as a public defender in Hillsborough County. She earned her law degree from Florida A&M, and in 2016 was named a distinguished alumni by the FAMU College of Law.
The HD 61 race is wide open.